Sunday, 15 September 2013

Our 7 day Langtang Trek in the Himalayas (Part 1)

Day 1:
Syrabrubesi-Lama Hotel.

The day had finally come to begin our trek. We woke up at about 6 and got ready then went downstairs and had some breakfast. We left our guesthouse at about 7am. The rain had stopped from the night before but it was still very cloudy and it looked like it could rain again.

The route we would be taking.
The beginning of the trek was walking along a beautiful river, it was very easy going and we got to walk through a beautiful little village. The first hour went very smoothly and we were surprised at how easy it seemed. The air was fresh and the area was so luscious and full of green. We were going quite quickly for the first couple of hours when Bolle (our guide) pulled us over and warned us to go slower because of the altitude. I had only ever done short hikes before so my style of hiking is to go quick, I love going up a mountain at a fast pace. Unfortunately this wasn’t going to be possible this time. Our first tea house came along and once we got there I immediately began to feel nauseous and had a headache. I knew that this was a mild form of altitude sickness and began scolding myself for walking too fast. I took some altitude sickness tablets and ordered a hot cup of peppermint tea from the tea house.
Our first tea house stop; This cute little boy lived there.

Tea houses are exactly what you think they are. They are peoples homes that you can stop in all along the trek and order drinks and food from and also spend the night there. Most tea houses are basic with no electricity and there is only hot water if the sun is shining. The best thing about the tea houses is that they are always situated just after a very tough part of the hike. So they give you a chance to catch your breath, have a chat and get ready for the next part of the hike.

After our first tea house visit we realized that this would be the end of the level walking for now, our next part of the trek was all uphill. It was quite a tough climb, especially when you have to go as slow as you can to avoid altitude sickness. But it was so beautiful. That first day we hiked along with the river, hiked in the woods and near a hot spring.

Day 1

Day 1

Day 1

Jason on day 1 of our hike.

As you can see it was quite misty so there wasn't any views.

It was a good solid 9 hour trek and by the end of that first day we were so tired. About 6 of those hours were completely uphill and it was tough. We went from 1503meters above sea level  in Syrabrubesi to 2420 meters in Lama Hotel.
Our first nights stop.

Lama Hotel is not one hotel but it is a name given to an area that has plenty of tea houses. It is usually the first stop for most people that are doing the Langtang trek. Bolle quickly found us a room and we were excited to find out that the fire downstairs went up through the pipes and heated each of the rooms, a nice little treat after our first day hiking. Once we got into our room all we could do was collapse on our beds. I think we got a couple of hours sleep until Bolle came knocking at the door warning us that we had to order our dinner soon. We went down to the common area and had a nice chat with some other trekkers while eating and then got ready for bed.
That night was a very scary night for me as I began suffering from altitude sickness badly. I was awoken in the middle of the night because I couldn’t breath, my chest felt so tight, I had a terrible headache and felt very nauseous. I knew that if you keep going higher while suffering from altitude sickness it can become very serious and you could die. So while lying there that night I was so worried that I would have to give up and go back down the next day.

Day 2:
Lama Hotel- Langtang Valley

Luckily, I woke up and felt much better so was able to continue on. Day 2 was the toughest uphill of our hike but thank god my mindframe was in the best place and I had a positive outlook on the day that I felt great and pushed through to our next destination. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great and it was raining. I had a rain jacket but unfortunately Jason didn’t so Bolle made him a makeshift jacket from a plastic sheet. We also found some bamboo sticks to help us with the uphill and they soon became our best friends for the remainder of the hike. 

We had some pretty grueling uphill climbs on our second day and unfortunately because of the rain we had no views whatsoever. While hiking we came across a familiar face, Benjamin, the German that we had met at the Indian embassy. He was on his way down and told us that because of the bad weather he had to finish the hike early and go back down, he said it was snowing very heavily up higher and there were no views whatsoever. We were a bit worried at this point, thinking that we may not get the views that we had imagined, but we pressed on through some beautiful fields with horses and along the valley rim.

We noticed a lot of locals going downhill that day with their children. We were curious as to why so many of them were going down so we asked Bolle. He told us that the new school year was starting and many of the kids in the mountains go to boarding school in nearby cities so the families had to do the two day trek downhill to get the children onto their school bus and then the parents had to do the three day trek back up. It blew my mind that these people that lived up there had to do this trek everytime that they needed to get somewhere. There were no roads in this area and the only way to get supplies up and down the mountains were on donkeys backs.
Children on their way down to school.

Jason on day 2

Jason and our guide Bolle.

Jason at one of our many tea house stops.

Our view as we got close to Langtang village, as you can see it was quite rainy/misty.

We passed so many donkeys throughout our trek. The rule is that when a group of donkeys come along you must try to find somewhere to stand away from the path, those donkeys had very tough jobs and it broke my heart to see some of them collapsing on their way and having to get back up and continue.

Some of the many donkeys
on the trail

After another tough day hiking we arrived at Langtang village, our home for the night. Once we got here Bolle brought us past all of the other guest houses to one that was quite a bit away from all of the others. It was his friends tea house and we were the only guests. It was a wonderful little place owned by a husband and wife, his father and their three children. They also owned a horse that was out in the garden and her beautiful young foal. We had a lovely evening with the family and had a great time learning more about them and their culture.

That night I woke up with pains in my stomach so I went outside to use the bathroom (all teahouses only had shared bathrooms, usually outdoors) After using the bathroom I was walking back to my room when I looked up and saw the most wonderful thing I have ever seen. It was the middle of the night and it was quite dark out but the moon was shining and from its light I managed to catch a glimpse of a snow capped mountain. I was so excited that the sky finally looked clear and I was hoping that it would stay clear until the morning time. I think I stood there in the freezing cold for about 20 minutes just looking up at that mountain.

Day 3:
Langtang Valley to Kyanjin Gompa.

I woke up the next morning and immediately opened the curtains and looked out the window, I was so excited when I saw the majestic snow capped mountains all around us, I quickly got Jason up and we ran outside to get a better view. The mountains were so beautiful and they were snow capped all along the valley that we had just come from, it was hard to believe that they were hiding from us for the whole time.  We were quite excited, especially as this was our last day of trekking uphill. Kyanjin Gompa was to be our highest point on our trek.
Our view from the bedroom window.

Myself and Jason excited about the beautiful views.

The living area of our tea house. This served
as the cooker and heater of the house. 

Beautiful son of the tea house owners.

the views from Langtang village.

Unfortunately I was still feeling sick and could barely stomach breakfast. Every teahouse along the trek had identical menus and served identical food. Since my stomach wasn’t good I had been turned off most of the items on the menus and since every menu was the same it meant that I could barely eat for a while.

That morning we set off and I immediately noticed that my mind frame was completely different from the day before. I was feeling sick and seeing the uphill climb ahead of me I nearly felt like crying and I was wondering how I was ever going to get through it. I had put on too many layers of clothes that morning also because it was much colder in the valley but once we started walking I soon began sweating. Halfway up a big hill that we were climbing I decided that I’d have to go into a nearby field and take off some layers. I was feeling so low and miserable at this point and then something amazing happened.

When I went into the field it was a bit higher up than the path, while taking off some layers I looked straight ahead and saw the most beautiful awe inspiring mountains I had ever seen, they were all snow capped and it was a glorious sight. I immediately felt drawn to them and suddenly my mind frame had completely changed. With those magnificient views that days trek was wonderful. I just kept my eyes focused on the mountains and could barely take my eyes off of them, they were honestly one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen. Luckily that day was only a half a days trek. It also felt very different from the two previous days that were filled with lush green forests and rivers, today the landscape was much more barren and there were many yaks around. The trail to the Himalayas also became almost like a Buddhist shrine, there were prayer flags, wheels and shrines everywhere along the path. I had to keep remembering to walk to the left of the shrines (always in a clockwise direction).
You can see my delight at seeing the amazing Himalayas
 (the sun was so bright that it made capturing them a bit difficult)

Myself and Jason

So beautiful!
On our way to Kyanjin Gompa

Dendee, Bolle and me.

Jason with the incredible mountains behind him.

After about 3 hours of hiking we made it to the highest point of our trek; Kyanjin Gompa. It is a small village that had some incredible views from every direction, it was also bitterly cold up that high.

Unfortunately I was still feeling sick when we arrived so when Bolle offered us a tour of the village I had to pass. I put on my layers, got into my sleeping bag and tried to rest (although the cold was making it hard). That evening was spent in the common room of our tea house playing games with some new found friends with the fire lighting. It was very enjoyable.

Travel Agents:
Exotic Mt.Treks: They were very honest and really seemed to want to help us in the best way possible. I'd definitely recommend any travelers to use their services.

Trekking Guide:
Bolle Magar:
He was a highly qualified guide who always had our best interests at heart, he always had a smile on his face and became a good friend during our trek. His English is also great.
Hint: if you book with him directly you will be able to cut out the agent fees and save some money.


  1. Cool article! I did the same trek, and wrote about it if you're interested :)

  2. Hey,
    thanks for reading. Your article is also great! It's great to see another perspective about the Langtang trek, it's really amazing isn't it!

  3. Oh by the way...we really didn't like the yak cheese either!

  4. Love your blog posts, you seemed to enjoy and appreciate every experience :) Nepal sounds more amazing now and I can't wait to visit myself!

  5. Thank you Francis. It really was an amazing experience! You are going to love your time in Nepal!